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Binge drinking culture of Chinese government officials

Posted August. 13, 2014 05:57,   


Despite strong anti-corruption activities, cases are on the rise where Chinese government officials die of excessive alcohol consumption. The national Xinhua News criticized the heavy and binge drinking culture rampant among the bureaucrats in a report.

According to the news report, a low-ranking police officer in the Huangshan City of Anhui Province fell to death while drinking with the high-level officials earlier this month. Before this case, a junior-level civil servant in the Laifeng County of Hubei Province died suddenly on July 14 during drinking alcohol with his superiors.

These unfortunate deaths are mostly from the low-rank officials while drinking with their superiors. Behind this phenomenon lies a chronic malady of Chinese bureaucrats’ drinking culture. One high-level official of Anhui Province said, “Heavy drinking is quite painful but other superiors and colleagues regard it highly. There is a saying that one’s alcohol tolerance is proportional to his personality, or one’s drinking capacity is proportionate to his (work) performance.”

The situation is not that different to high-level officials. There is even a saying that “one’s ability to entertain superiors with drinking is the person’s productivity.” High-rank civil servants who have drinking party everyday are evaluated to have excellent job capability and strong personal connection. Otherwise, they are "isolated" and getting farther away from the power group. One small city in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region included the alcohol tolerance requirement of "the minimum 500 ml of Kaoliang Liquor" in a job post for a female public servant.

It is known that the local governments make generous compensation by any means if a public official is injured or dead due to excessive drinking. Such injuries or deaths are recognized as an official disaster. In some cases, the government retroactively acknowledges them as a patriot. Actually, there was a case where the bereaved family received millions of yuan as a compensation for their loss. While asking whether a binge-drinking patriot needs to be more valued than the real patriot, the news agency argued such heavy and binge drinking culture must be eradicated.